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Full text of "Drinking Fountains: Investigation of Fountains at the University of Minnesota"

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691 



May 11, 1917 



would be of great value to the health authorities of the States and Territories which 
may be concerned and to the United States Public Health Service; be it 
Resolved, That during the present war immediate reciprocal notification in regard 
to such cases and carriers and exposed persons be made by State and Territorial health 
authorities on forms to be provided by the United States Public Health Service. 

HEALTH INSURANCE VERSUS SICKNESS INSURANCE. 

Resolved, That in the judgment of this conference the use of the phrase " health 
insurance " to describe a system of sickness relief that makes no specific, positive, and 
definite provision for the conservation of health is liable to endanger the efficiency of 
existing health agencies and retard their further development. 

Resolved, That in any scheme for health insurance all activities looking toward the 
active conservation and promotion of health should be entrusted to the regularly 
established health conservation agencies, which should be reorganized or reinforced 
for that purpose if necessary. 



DRINKING FOUNTAINS. 

INVESTIGATION OF FOUNTAINS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA. 

By H. A. Whittakee, Director, Division of Sanitation, Minnesota State Board of Health. 

This investigation was undertaken to determine the sanitary condi- 
tion of the drinking fountains in use at the University of Minnesota 
and, if they were found to be unsatisfactory, to offer recommenda- 
tions for correcting defects. The work consisted of a study of the 
mechanical features of each fountain, bacteriological examinations of 
the parts of the fountain exposed to the lips of the consumer, and 
bacteriological examinations of the water supplied to and discharged 
from the fountain. 

The method of conducting this investigation was briefly as follows : 
Samples of water were collected from taps in the various buildings 
to represent the water supplying the fountains, and from the jet on 
each fountain to represent the water discharged from the fountain. 
A swab was rubbed over all parts of the fountain that might easily 
come in contact with the lips of the consumer, in-order to determine 
the presence or absence of streptococci. The water samples were 
examined for the total number of bacteria per cubic centimeter, for 
B. coli in 1 and 100 cubic centimeter amounts, and for streptococci 
in 100 cubic centimeter amounts. The bacterial counts were made 
on agar after forty-eight hours' incubation at 37° C. The determina- 
tions for B. coli were made in accordance with the routine methods > 
used by this division. The examinations for streptococci in 100 
cubic centimeter samples of water were made by enriching the 
samples with quadruple strength dextrose broth and examining 

1 Public Health Reports, vol. 29, No. 20, May 15, 1914, p. 1228-1229. 

YQUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— Bl Y A 1917 LIBERTY BOND. 



May 11, 1917 



692 



microscopically after forty-eight hours' incubation at 37° C. The 
examinations for streptococci on the swabs were made by inoculating 
directly into dextrose broth and examining microscopically after 
forty-eight hours' incubation at 37° C. The presence of streptococci 
was used to indicate possible contamination from the mouth of the 
consumer, as these organisms are commonly found in abundance in 
the mouths of human beings. It must be admitted that streptococci 
might be contributed from other outside sources, but this is not 
probable under existing conditions. The presence of B. coli was used 
as an indication of contamination of fecal origin. 

Following the collection of the specimens for bacteriological ex- 
amination, a study of the mechanical features of each type of foun- 
tain was made by removing various parts so that the details of con- 
struction could be observed. 









4 5 6 

Fig. 1. — Nozzles on drinking fountains examined. 

The water supply of the main campus of the University of Min- 
nesota is obtained from the public supply of the city of Minneapolis. 
This water is taken from the Mississippi River and is subjected to 
sedimentation, coagulation, filtration, and liquid chlorine treatment 
before distribution for consumption. The water supply of the de- 
partment of agriculture is obtained from two drilled wells located 
on university property. 

The results of the bacteriological examinations of the water from 
both sources are shown in Table 1. The water supply of the depart- 
ment of agriculture is represented by Nos. 1 and 2, and that of the 
main campus by Nos. 3 to 18, inclusive. The results of the exam- 
inations of the drinking fountains are recorded in Table 2, while the 

YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY—BUY A 1917 LIBERTY BOND. 



693 



May 11, 1917 



sketches of the various types investigated are shown in figures 1 
and 2, The summarized results of the entire investigation are in- 
cluded in Table 3. 

A resume of the results shows that 77 drinking fountains, which 
represented 15 different types, were examined., Sixty-five per cent 
of these fountains were of the continuous- flow type and 35 per cent 
of the intermittent type operated by the consumer. The nozzles 
on all of these fountains discharged the water vertically. The height 









10 



ft 



ta 






X^Z^L 



13 14 15 

Fig. 2,— Nozzles on drinking fountains examined. 

of the water jet above parts of the fountain that could be touched 
by the lips of the consumer was less than 1 inch in 40 per cent of 
the fountains. On examination of the various types shown in figures 
1 and 2, it is seen that all are subject to contamination by the con- 
sumer, either directly by the lips or by water falling back from the 
lips onto the jet or the surrounding parts. Certain of these types 
have closed receptacles around the point of discharge, which retain 
a part of the water discharged from the outlet. Coloring matter 

YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— BUY A 1917 LIBERTY BOND. 



May 11, 1917 694 

added to these receptacles was not entirely removed for long periods 
of time. 

The bacteriological examinations of the water supplied to 18 
university buildings show consistently low bacterial counts, and 
B. coli and streptococci were not found present in 100 cubic centi- 
meter amounts. The results on water discharged from the fountains 
show higher bacterial counts in a few instances, and the presence of 
streptococci in 11 per cent of the fountains examined, but B. coli 
was not found present in 100 cubic centimeter amounts in any case. 
The examinations of the swabs show the presence of streptococci on 
the parts exposed to the lips of the consumer in 80 per cent of the 
fountains. To summarize these results, they show: (a) That a large 
proportion of the fountains were infected with streptococci, which it 
is reasonable to assume came from the mouths of the consumers, as 
these organisms were not found in the water supplying these foun- 
tains; (&) that streptococci were actually present in the water dis- 
charged from the fountains and could be transmitted to the mouth 
of a consumer, even though the lips were not touched to the infected 
parts. These facts suggest the possibility of the fountains being a 
factor in the transmission of certain communicable diseases, and 
that certain changes should be made in their construction to elim- 
inate this danger. 

The principal defect in construction was the vertical discharge of 
water from the fountain. This made it necessary for the consumer 
to place the mouth directly over the point of discharge, and the 
majority of persons drank with the lips touching the discharge 
nozzle of the fountain. This was especially true where the water 
jet was low, but even when it was high enough to avoid this practice 
the average consumer placed the mouth over the jet and then low- 
ered the head until the lips touched the discharge nozzle or adjacent 
parts of the fountain. 

Experiments were conducted with various types of fountains 
which were d&signed with the view of correcting the defects noted 
in those already in use. It was found that the most practical con- 
struction to obviate the principal defect mentioned was to discharge 
the water from the fountain at such an angle that the consumer 
could drink without approaching the point of discharge, thus elim- 
inating the possibility of water falling back from the mouth onto 
parts of the fountain at or near the point of discharge. This prin- 
ciple was suggested previously by Pettibone, Bogart, and Clark 1 
following an investigation of drinking fountains at the University of 
Wisconsin. 

i Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 1, No. 5, Sept. 1916, p. 471. 

YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— BUT A 1917 LIBERTY BOND. 



695 



May 11, 1917 



It was found necessary in a practical design to entirely protect the 
point of discharge and to guard the nozzle against the approach of 
the consumer. The nozzle shown in figure 3 fulfills these require- 
ments, and can be substituted for the nozzle used on practically any 
of the common types of drinking fountains. This type of nozzle 
protects the point of discharge by inclosing the small discharge tube 
in a larger tube which is cut at an angle with its upper surface extend- 
ing beyond the outer extremity of the inner tube. The wire muzzle 
prevents the consumer from approaching the point of discharge. 
This nozzle can be used on the constant or intermittent flow type. 
In cases where the water pressure varies to a large degree, pressure 
regulators should be installed. Doubtless there are many other 
mechanical possibilities of accomplishing the same result, but the 




20' 




a\ 

MS 
protected type of drinking fountain nozzle. 

one shown is simple and inexpensive, and it can be attached to prac- 
tically any fountain. 

Figure 4 shows a consumer drinking from an unprotected type of 
fountain with the mouth directly over the jet. A cross section of the 
nozzle of this fountain is shown in figure 2, No. 7> Figure 5 shows a 
consumer drinking from the same fountain with the improved nozzle 
shown in figure 3. This improved nozzle was installed on a fountain 
located in the main corridor of one of the university buildings. It 
was kept in operation for several weeks, during which time a large 
number of persons used the fountain daily. The regular tests were 
applied to this fountain at different times during this period, with the 
results shown in Table 4. These results indicate that this type of 
fountain nozzle will protect the consumer. 

YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— BUY A 1917 LIBERTY B0o7~ 



May 11, 1917 



696 



CONCLUSION. 

This investigation included the 77 drinking fountains in use at the 
University of Minnesota. These fountains represented 15 different 
types, all of which were found to be improperly constructed to pre- 
vent them from contamination by the consumer. The bacteriolog- 
ical examinations conducted on these fountains showed that 80 
per cent were infected with streptococci, and that the water from 
11 per cent of these fountains contained organisms of this type when 
they were not found present in the water supplied to the fountains. 
These results indicate that drinking fountains may be a factor in the 
transmission of communicable diseases, a condition which should be 
remedied. 

Experiments were conducted with various fountain nozzles to sup- 
plant those in use, and a type was designed which is economical to 
construct and safe from a sanitary point of view. 

The writer wishes to acknowledge the valuable assistance of Mr. 
George W. Putnam in connection with this investigation. 

Table 1. — Results on water supplies at buildings. 
[+=positive result; 0=negative result.] 



No. 



Building. 



Location. 



Bacteriological examination. 



Strepto- 
cocci, 
100 c. c. 



Bacteria, 
1 c. c. 



B. coli. 



100 c. c. 



Agricultural, engineering. . 

Agricultural, main 

Elliott Hospital 

Millard Hafl 

Anatomy 

Biology 

Main engineering 

Experimental engineering.. 



Chemistry 

Men's Union , 

Dentistry 

Pharmacy 

Mechanic arts 

Pathology and public health. 

Electrical engineering 

ForwellHall 

Education 



Second-floor toilet 

First-floor toilet 

Third-floor corridor. . . 

Basement corridor 

First-floor toilet 

Basement toilet 

do 

.....do 

.....do 

Second-floor toilet 

Basement toilet , 

Second-floor corridor. . 

Basement toilet . . 

do 

First-floor laboratory. 

Basement toilet 

do 

....do 



YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— BUY A 1917 LIBERTY BOND. 



697 



May 11, 191? 



Table 2.— Results on drinking fountains. 

[N= north end; S=south end; E=east end; W=west end; c= constant-flow type; i= intermittent-flow 
type; ci=intermittent type used as constant-flow type. -f ^positive result; 0=negative result.] 



No. 



Building. 



Location. 





Height, of 


Type. 


water 
jet in 




inches. 


1 


0.1c 


1 


.4c 


1 


,3c 


2 


.4c 


2 


1.0c 


3 


3.0i 


3 


.8i 


4 


.5ic 


5 


3.0i 


5 


1.5i 


5 


.6i 


5 


4.0 i 


5 


G.Oi 


6 


.6c 


6 


.5c 


6 


1.4c 


6 


.3 c 


6 


1.1c 


6 


1.3c 


6 


.4c 


6 


1.5 c 


6 


.8ic 


6 


.8i 


6 


1.3 i 


6 


1.0 ic 


7 


.41 


7 


l.l ic 


7 


2.0 i 


7 


1.6ic 


8 


l.Oi 


8 


l.Oi 


8 


l.Oi 


8 


.91 


8 


l.Oi 


8 


1.31 


8 


l.Oi 


8 


.5ic 


9 


1.3 i 


9 


.4i 


9 


2.5ic 


9 


.Oic 


9 


i.5i 


9 


L3i 


7 


l.Sic 


7 


1.8ic 


7 


.8ic 


7 


2. 5 i 


10 


.lie 


12 


1.8 c 


12 


1.0 c 


12 


1. 3 c 


8 


l.Sc 


ii 


l.OC 


u 


.5c 


7 


.6i 


14 


12. Oi 


14 


1.31 


13 


.5c 


11 


.6c 



Bacteriological examination. 



Swab. 



Strep- 
tococci, 



Strep- 
tococci 
in 100 
c. c. 



Water. 



Bac- 
teria, 
lc. c. 




B. coli. 



Agricultural engi- 
neering. 

do 

do 

do 

....do 

Agricultural, Main . 

do 

Agricultural, power 
plant. 

Elliott Hospital 

do 

do 

do 

do 

Millard Hall 

do. 



do 

do.... 

do..... 

do-... 

do..-. 

do.... 

Anatomy. 

do 

do.... 

do.... 

Biology.... 

.do 

.do 



.do. 



Main engineering. . 

do 

do 

do 

do 

do.... 



-do. 



Experimental engi- 
neering. 

Chemistry 

do 

do 

do 

do 

do 



Mines. 

do 

do 

do 

Men's Union 

Dentistry 

do..*. 

do 

Pharmacy 

Mechanic arts 

Library 

Women's gymna- 
sium. 

Pathology and pub- 
lic health. 

do 

....do 

Mechanical engi- 
neering. 



Corridor, second floor N 

Corridor, first floor S. . . 
Corridor, third floor. . . 

Blacksmith shop 

South shop 

Corridor, first floor — 
Corridor, second floor . 
Toolroom 

Corridor, third floor. . . 
Corridor, fourth floor. . 
Corridor, fifth floor.... 
Corridor, second floor . 

Corridor, first floor 

Corridor, third floor N . 
Corridor, third floor S . 
Corridor, second floor N 
Corridor, second floor S 
Corridor, basement N . 
Corridor, basement S.. 
Corridor, first floor S . . 
Corridor, first floor N . 
Corridor, third floor. . . 
Corridor, second floor. . 

Corridor, first floor 

Corridor, basement — 

do 

Corridor, first floor 

Corridor, second floor.. 
Corridor, third floor. . . 
Corridor, basement S.. 
Corridor, basement N. 
Corridor, first floor N.. 
Corridor, first floor S.. 
Corridor, second floor S . 
Corridor, second floor N 
Corridor, third floor N. . 
Corridor, first floor 



Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
Corridor, 
do. . 



third floor N . 
second floor S 
first floor S . . 
first floor N-. 
basement N . 
basement S.. 
third floor... 
second floor . 

first floor 

basement — 

first floor 

second floor . 
first ijoor — 

basement 

first floor 

basement 

first floor 



Corridor, second floor N 

Corridor, second floor S 
Corridor, first floor 
do 



100 
6 
2 
2 
4 
4 
3 

i 
5 
4 
8 

10 
5 
5 

25 
2 
1 
1 
2 
2 
5 
5 
3 
3 



YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— BUI A 1917 LIBERTY BOND. 



May 11, 1917 698 

Table 'l.—l&Strfls on drinking fountains — Continued. 



! 



No. ; Building 



Location. 



Electrical engineer- 
ing. 

Pillsbury Hall 

Armory 

do 

Fohvellllall 

do 

do 



Corridor, first floor.. 



Corridcr, basement 

Corridor, first floor S. . - 
Corridor, first floor N . . 
Corridor, basement — 
Corridor, first floor W . . 
Corridor, first floor E . . 
.do ; Corridor, second floor \V 

do ! Corridor, third floor... 

Physics building. . .| Corridor, basement 

Music « L do 

Law ; Corridor, first floor 



Education Corridor, basement W 

do Corridor, basement E . 

do Corridor, first floor E . 

do Corridor, first floor W. 

do i Corridor, second floorW 

do Corridor, second floor E 





11 eight of 


Ba< 


jteriologi 


cal ex an 


lination. 




Swab. 


Vater. 










pe. 


jet in 












inches. 




Strep- 


Bac- 
teria, 
1 c. c. 


B. coli. 






Strep- 


tococci 














tococci. 


in 100 
c. c. 


1 c.c. 


100 














c. c. 


11 


.5c 


+ 





2 








11 


1.0c 


+ 





5 








11 


.8c 


+ 





2 








11 


.1 c 


+ 





2 


.0 





13 


2.0 c 








5 








13 


1.8c 


+ 





3 








13 


1.5 c 


+ 





1 








13 


3.0 c 


+ 





8 








13 


2.0 c 


+ 





5 








11 


.5c 


+ 





5 








11 


.5c 


+ 





5 








11 


.8c 


+ 





4 








15 


1.5 c 








5 








15 


1.0 c 


+ 





3 








15 


1.5c 


+ 





4 








15 


1.0 c 








4 








15 


.5c 


+ 





3 








15 


1.5c 


+ 





4 









Table 3. — Summarized results of investigation. 

Number examined 77 

Number of types 15 

Height of water jet: 
Continuous — 

Minimum inches . . 0. 1 

Maximum do 3.0 

Intermittent — 

Minimum do 0. 4 

Maximum do 12.0 

Bacteriological examination : 

Swab from fountains— Streptococci positive per cent . . 80 

Water from fountains — 

Streptococci in 100 c. c. positive do 11 

Bacteria per c.c. average 6 

B. coli positive — 

1(!.C 

100 c. c 

Water from buildings — 

Streptococci in 100 c. c. positive 

Bacteria per c.c. average 2 

B. coli positive — ■ 

lec 

100 c . v 



YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— BUY A 1917 LIBERTY BOND. 



699 May 11, 1917 

Table 4.— Results on drinking fountain with improved nozzle. 

Number of examinations 3 

Bacteriological examination: 

Swab — Streptococci positive 

Water from fountains — 

Streptococci in 100 c. c. positive 

Bacteria per c. c. average 3 

B. coli— 

lc. c 

100 c. c 

Water from building — 

Streptococci in 100 c. c. positive 

Bacteria per c. c. average 

B. coli— 

lc. c 

100 c. c 



MECHANICAL FANS. 

THEIR USE TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF FUMIGATING GASES. 

By S. B. Gbubbs, Surgeon, United States Public Health Service. 

While making experiments at the Boston Quarantine Station to 
test the penetrating powers of fumigating gases, it was observed that 
a rat in a certain box (box 1) that had shown no symptoms after one 
hour exposure to cyanide gas in the room was quickly overcome when 
a small electric fan was started in order to drive the gas through a 
window. This incident was the more remarkable as the window was 
on the opposite side of the room and the fan was on the window sill, 
driving the gas outside. Although the strength of the gas was being 
rapidly decreased, the agitation of the air by the fan apparently 
caused the gas to penetrate rapidly the holes in the box holding the 
rat. 

Experiments were therefore made to investigate the penetration 
of cyanide gas when mechanically agitated as compared with the 
same gas under natural conditions. Of these experiments one series 
may be cited. They were made in a room of 500 cubic feet capacity, 
practically air-tight, and with a small electric fan (8-inch, delivering 
390 cubic feet per minute) in one corner near the ceiling and directed 
toward the center of the room. The boxes used were intended to 
imitate the hiding places of rats on shipboard. They may be de- 
scribed as follows: 

Box 1. — Air-tight wooden box, 8 by 8 inches by 2 feet, with two 
partitions 1 inch apart near one end. This end has four 1-inch holes. 
The middle partition has twT> 1-inch and two half-inch holes. The 

YOUR PATRIOTIC DUTY— BUY A 1917 LIBERTY BOND,